The Piazzi Smyth Observatory at Bedford School opened in October 2000 and is an excellent facility for the School, the wider community and for BAS to have access to. It provides an important and valuable resource for the teaching of, and the wider public awareness and understanding of Astronomy.
Sited at the Northern end of the Bedford School estate, the Observatory, Resource Centre and Planetarium were opened by The Duke of Edinburgh on the 22nd of May 2002. Operated by the School in conjunction with members of the Bedford Astronomical Society, the facilities are available for use by other interested groups and schools.
The project has been funded by major grants from The Bedford School Trust, The Harpur Trust and The Wolfson Foundation, along with other generous donations from local businesses and Old Boys. It is truly a very high quality and exciting facility for all to enjoy.
For more information about Bedford School and its Observatory, click here
The main 5m dome currently houses a professional standard Meade LX 200 16" computer controlled telescope. This gives stunning views of the Moon, Planets and Deep Sky Objects. A number of portable telescopes ranging from 6" to 13" diameter are also used from the outside observation deck, so there is always plenty to see.
The Resource Room includes a 4m Planetarium Dome together with slide and PowerPoint projection facilities and a computer link to the Observatory. The Star Projector for the Planetarium was installed in Spring 2002 and regular shows are given to members of the public and interested groups on a booking basis. The popularity of these visits is increasing all the time, so you are advised to book early to ensure you get a visit when required.
The Observatory is available for schools, groups and other societies to book for a tour of the night sky. Our guide to visiting is below and is designed to make your visit both fun and as safe as possible.
Judging by the letters received since the project opened all the groups that have visited so far have enjoyed the sessions immensely. We of course hope you have a similar experience! Please make contact if you have any queries.
Route maps, a town plan and a site map can be found by clicking here
Can be found at the Bedford School website